The Q&A Archives: Gardenia

Question: Yellow leaves on gardenia house plant. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: Gardenias grow outdoors in mild climates, and as an indoor houseplant in other areas of the country. With good care and a little luck, your plant will bloom every year. Plan to keep it indoors during the colder winter months and place it outdoors in the spring and summer. Once outside, place it in a spot that will be shaded from hot afternoon summer sunshine. When it's indoors, give it bright light, but not direct afternoon sunshine. In order to bloom, your plant needs a nighttime temperature of 60F - 65F degrees and a daytime temperature about 10 degrees warmer. Without an even temperature and careful watering, gardenias will drop their flower buds while they're still unopened. Keep the soil moist using tepid, soft water, and mist the plant every day to keep the plant happy. Fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer for acid loving plants such as Miracid following the label instructions. It's natural for the older leaves of gardenias to turn yellow and drop off. New leaves will grow in their places. To keep your plant tidy and to encourage new growth, pinch back the growing tips of the stems. Gardenias don't like to be repotted more often than every 2-3 years. Do so in the spring, using a good commercial potting soil for acid loving plants, and putting the plant in a new pot that's only slightly larger than the old one.

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